Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 projections: Johnny Cueto

Photo courtesy of Adam Lucas of adamlucasdesigns.com

Despite missing five weeks to start the season, the 2011 campaign was pretty good for Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto. The Dominican native finished with a minuscule 2.31 ERA (1.38 ERA at home), 9-5 record, 1.090 WHIP and three complete games in 156 innings pitched. His showing last season impressed so much that he was quickly labelled as the team's ace by mid-season. And while there's no doubt whether or not Cueto can pitch this well, the real concern is can he do it again in 2012?

So, to help give a better idea of what this upcoming season may hold for him I've dug up projections from four different sources. They are as follows:

BG: baseballguru.com
RC: rotochamp.com
ZiPS: baseballthinkfactory.org
ESPN: espn.com

And here are their respective projections for Cueto:

BG: 10 wins, 139.1 IP, 4.02 ERA, 6.9 SO/9, 1.15 WHIP
RC: 13-8, 175 IP, 3.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 125 Ks
ZiPS: 10-7 3.63 ERA, 173.1 IP, 123 Ks, 110 ERA+
ESPN: 14 wins, 3.82 ERA, 184 IP, 1.28 WHIP, 7.04 SO/9
Career avg (4 yrs): 11-10, 3.83 ERA, 1.290 WHIP, 177 IP, 7.0 SO/9

I don't know about you, but these projections tell me that people still aren't convinced of Cueto's ace-pedigree. I'm not expecting the right-hander to post another sub-2.40 ERA in '12, but these projections are highly conservative, in my opinion. Cueto will benefit from pitching in a weakened division this year along with having new running mate Mat Latos to provide support at the top of the rotation. I fully expect the 26-year old to record double-digit wins and build upon last season's success. And possibly even earn his first trip to the Midsummer Classic in July.

Do you see Cueto having the same kind of success in 2012 as he did in 2011? Who do you believe will be considered the team's ace by season's end, Cueto or Latos?

You can view past player projections by clicking on the following links:
Jay Bruce
Joey Votto
Brandon Phillips

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